Welcome to a Birder’s Paradise
Hippo Point is ideally suited for birders since it offers roughly four different biospheres within the Conservancy itself as well as a number of important birding areas within striking distance. The greater Naivasha area is home to at least 350 regular bird species as well as of a host of migrants and irregular visitors.
At 1880 metres above sea level, Lake Naivasha is the highest of the Rift Valley Lakes. It is the second largest freshwater lake in Kenya and one of only two freshwater lakes in the Rift Valley. The adjacent Lake Oloidien was formerly part of Lake Naivasha but it is now separated from its South-West shore by a stretch of an elevated land where both Dodo’s Tower and the Farm are located. Lake Oloiden which means “Salty” in the Maa language is normally alkaline (when not exceptionally connected again with Lake Naivasha like in early 2014) and therefore offers a totally different environment for wildlife.
The shores of Lake Naivasha (East of the Tower) are home to an incredible variety of birdlife, from the Great and Long-tailed Cormorants to the Malachite, Pygmy, Pied and Giant Kingfishers. Egrets, Herons and Storks roam the reeds from the submerged Boat’s House all the way to the airstrip. Numerous Fish Eagles and Western Marsh Harriers permanently scour the area . On dry land, Hildebrandt’s Francolins, Grey-headed Bush-shrikes and three different species of Woodpeckers (Grey, Bearded and Nubian) create an enchanting background. Klaas’s Cuckoo is also a regular in the garden of the Farm. The Naivasha Lake side is best visited by boat in the early morning hours.
The Western shore (on Lake Oloidien) is especially interesting for ducks (Cape, Hottentot and Red-billed Teals, Southern Pochards, White-backed Ducks) as well as for both the Greater and Lesser Flamingos. The trees and shrubs lining the shore are inhabited by Black and African Cuckoos, Green Wood-hoopoes and by a family of Verreaux Eagle-owls. Fischer’s, Yellow-collared and Hybrid Lovebirds nest around the Tower.
The hilly, elevated part behind the platform (all the way to the Hippo Point summit) is a typical dry savannah area with Wheatears, Striped Kingfishers, Flycatchers and Larks. A hike up the hill is a very rewarding experience.
The Southern land strip from the Tower to the Airfield is definitely Raptor Country. On a good day, one might be able to observe the Steppe, Lesser Spotted and Greater Spotted Eagles as well as Rüppel’s Griffon Vulture feeding on carcasses. A chance encounter with the rare Grey-crested Helmet-shrike might be an unforgettable experience
A morning trip to Hell’s Gate National Park will offer the opportunity to watch the Peregrine and Lanner Falcons and to observe the beautiful Verreaux Eagle, one of the most emblematic raptors of African birdlife.
A boating excursion from the South Lake Shore gives one the chance to observe the Black Heron with its peculiar fishing habits as well as Pelicans, Harriers and the beautiful Purple Swamphen.
Hardcore birders will plan a day-trip to the foot of the Aberdares at Kinangop to see Sharpe’s Longclaw, a Kenya endemic and one of the most endangered birds in Africa
The early morning hours are the best for boat-rides and for Hell’s Gate National Park whilst afternoons can be dedicated to the hills and to Lake Oloidien.
The Hippo Point rangers have been thoroughly trained and will be able to guide you on any excursion you want to take. Top Kenyan ornithologists are available on demand for special field trips.